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recovering from a long and dangerous illness, through which he had been tenderly nursed by his wife and daughter, he accompanied them “ in villeggiatura,” to a villa near Brianza, the residence of a friend, where they were accustomed to celebrate the birth-day of Madame Monti; and it was here that her husband, now declining in years, weak from recent illness and accumulated infirmities, addressed to her the poem which may be found in the recent edition of his works ; it begins thus tenderly and sweetly

Donna! dell' alma mia parte più cara !
Perchè muta in pensosa atto mi guati ?
E di segrete stille,
Rugiadose si fan le tue pupille ? &c.

Why, 0 thou dearer half of my soul, dost thou watch over me thus mute and pensive? Why are thine eyes heavy with suppressed tears?" &c.

And when he reminds her touchingly, that his long and troubled life is drawing to its natural close, and that she cannot hope to retain him much longer, even by all her love and care,-he adds with a noble spirit,—“Remember, that Monti cannot wholly die ! think, O think! I leave thee dowered with no obscure, no vulgar name! for the day shall come, when, among the matrons of Italy, it shall be thy boast to say,—“I was the love of Monti."*

The tender transition to his daughter

E tu del pari sventurata e cara mia figlia ! as alike unhappy and beloved, alludes to her recent widowhood. Costanza Monti, who inherited no small portion of her father's genius, and all her mother's

grace and beauty, married the Count Giulio Perticari of Pesaro, a man of uncommon taste and talents, and an admired poet. He died in the same year with Canova, to whom he had been a favourite friend and companion : while his lovely wife furnished the sculptor with a model for his ideal heads of vestals and poetesses. Those who saw the Countess Perticari at Rome, such as she appeared seven or eight years ago, will not easily

* In the original, Monti designates himself by an allusion to his chef-d'ouvre-" Del Cantor di Basville."

forget her brilliant eyes, and yet more brilliant talents. She, too, is a poetess. In her father's works

may

be found a little canzone written by her about a year after the death of her husband, and with equal tenderness and simplicity, alluding to her lonely state, deprived of him who once encouraged and cultivated her talents, and deserved her love. *

Vincenzo Monti died in October 1828:-his widow and his daughter reside, I believe, at Milan.

* Monti, Opere, vol. iii. p. 75.

218

CHAPTER XIII.

POETS AND BEAUTIES,

FROM CHARLES II. TO QUEEN ANNE.

Thus, then, it appears, that love, even the most ethereal and poetical, does not always take flight “at sight of human ties;” and Pope wronged the real delicacy of Heloïse when he put this borrowed sentiment into her epistle, making that conduct the result of perverted principle, which, in her, was a sacrifice to extreme love and pride in its object. It is not the mere idea of bondage which frightens away the light-winged god ;

The gentle bird feels no captivity
Within his cage, but sings and feeds his fill.*

Spenser

It is when those bonds, which were first decreed

in heaven

To keep two hearts together, which began
Their spring-time with one love,

are abused to vilest purposes :-to link together indissolubly, unworthiness with desert, truth with falsehood, brutality with gentleness; then indeed love is scared ; his cage becomes a dungeon ;--and either he breaks away, with plumage all impaired, -or folds up his many-coloured wings, and droops and dies.

But then it will be said, perhaps, that the splendour and the charm which poetry has thrown over some of these pictures of conjugal affection and wedded truth, are exterior and adventitious, or, at best, short-lived :— the bands were at first graceful and flowery ;--but sorrow dewed them with tears, or selfish passions sullied them, or death tore them asunder, or trampled them down. It may

ut still I will aver that what has been, is :—that there is a power in the human heart which survives sorrow, passion, age, death itself.

be so ;

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